On PM’s request: Prince MBS orders release of Pakistanis held for sloganeering at Masjid-i-Nabwi

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Wednesday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman granted pardon and ordered release of Pakistani pilgrims who were jailed over sloganeering and hounding a PM-led delegation at Masjid-i-Nabwi in Madina this April.

PM Shehbaz, who concluded a two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, expressed gratitude to the crown prince in a tweet for ordering release of the jailed Pakistanis.

“I am deeply grateful to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mr Muhammad bin Salman, who, on my request, ordered release of the Pakistanis arrested in Saudi Arabia for the April 2022 incident.

“We pray to Allah Almighty to make us better Muslims who forgive each other’s mistakes,“ the Prime Minister wrote. “May Allah Almighty reward you for this,” the prime minister said and thanked the crown prince for this kind gesture.

In April, PM Shehbaz, along with a delegation comprising federal ministers and others, had gone on a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia. On their visit to Masjid-i-Nabwi during the trip, some Pakistani pilgrims had hounded them, shouted slogans against them and even physically attacked some members of the delegation.

Videos of the incident had gone viral on social media, prompting swift action from Saudi authorities and leading to the arrest of some of the pilgrims.

Taking to Twitter, PM Shehbaz described his meeting with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia as “excellent”.

“We agreed to upgrade and enhance bilateral ties and fraternal bonds between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to new heights in line with the requirements of [the] changing world. I told [the crown prince] people of Pakistan are eagerly looking forward to his visit,” he said.

According to Radio Pakistan, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the fraternal bond between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Later, the premier and his delegation members performed Umrah at Makkah’s Grand Mosque. PM Shehbaz, “prayed for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan as well as Muslim ummah,” state broadcaster Radio Pakistan said.

PM Shehbaz reached Riyadh on Monday where he was received by Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud at the airport. The premier was accompanied by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and other officials.

He also addressed the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh on Monday, saying that Pakistan was “ripe for market innovation” and the country was ready to reach out to potential investors for the future of its upcoming generations.

INCIDENT

It is to be recalled that in April last, following sloganeering at Masjid-e-Nabwi, a court in Madina Munawara had sentenced three Pakistanis to eight years in jail and three others to six years imprisonment. Among those who were given eight years imprisonment included Khawaja Luqman, Muhammad Afzal and Ghulam Muhammad while Anas, Arshad and Muhammad Salim were jailed six years in jail.

The court had also sentenced another Pakistani national Tahir Malik to three years in prison with a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals.

 

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